When it comes to my hair, I tend to be very low maintenance. I’ve tried getting haircuts in the past that require styling, and they never stick. I just don’t have the time or the interest to spend the time in the morning, or the money on products to style my hair on a regular basis—and I also get very frustrated that the majority of the styling products on the market are chemically-based.
This frustration follows me to the hair salon when I get my hair trimmed every 6 to 8 weeks (at least I’m good at keeping up with that!). Since I’m only getting my hair trimmed straight across on the bottom, I don’t go to an expensive salon. All the products they use and sell are the most commonly advertised and hence, most popular ones—all of which are almost 100% full of chemical ingredients. I used to just grin and bear it—after all it was just one shampoo, right? But then I started getting rashes and a flaky scalp whenever I’d get a shampoo there so I knew it had to stop. I began going to the salon with a wet head after washing my hair at home with my own natural products.
I realize that higher-end salons might carry some organic and more naturally-based products (although many still do not), but I won’t pay triple the price for a trim just to have a shampoo that won’t irritate my scalp.
A glimmer of hope…
I recently received an inquiry from Organic Color Systems to see if I’d be interested in trying out some of their hair care products to review. After reviewing their website and telling them about my hair condition/goals, their experts selected Power Build shampoo and conditioner from their Organic Care Systems® range, as well as the Scalp Spa Rejuvenating Hair & Scalp Treatment and Retreat Split Ends Treatment from their Simply Organic® range. I was very excited, because even though I have a few natural hair care products I really like, I do feel the need to switch it up from time to time to avoid buildup. I also have found it challenging to find natural hair care products at health food stores that actually work for my hair. Many of them contain heavy emollients that weigh down hair that is fine and straight like mine—or they don’t condition enough at all and leave my hair dry and prone to breakage. The idea of products containing almost all natural and organic ingredients that actually do what they are supposed to do was very appealing to me.
My experience with the products:
These four products are from two different brands, so I thought I would start with the Power Build shampoo and conditioner by themselves first. I really liked how the shampoo cleansed but did not make my hair or scalp feel dry or tight (and I didn’t get any reaction from the ingredients). Since my hair is long, it does tend to lose volume from the weight of it and go flat on top, but I did notice a clear improvement in overall volume. I was a little less excited about the Power Build conditioner—I didn’t dislike it, but I didn’t feel like it provided enough conditioning on its own for my hair. I could still comb through it, and it still looked fine, but I still felt like another product was necessary to smooth the frizzies and baby hairs and protect from split ends.
Enter the Retreat Split Ends Treatment. At first I thought this would be a leave in product because it comes in a small 4 oz bottle. However, this product is meant to be massaged throughout freshly washed hair, left on for 5 minutes, and then rinsed thoroughly. I did this, and it rinsed out very cleanly. I would use this in place of the conditioner on a regular basis—it has become one of my favorite products.
I also really like the Scalp Spa Rejuvenating Hair & Scalp Treatment. This product also came in a 4 oz bottle. After shampooing, you massage it really well into the scalp, leave it on for 5 minutes, and rinse thoroughly. Since the timing is the same as the Retreat Split Ends Treatment, I shampooed my hair with the Power Build, applied the Scalp Spa and Retreat, and left it on for 5 minutes in the shower. I rinsed it all out at the same time, and my hair combed through easily. I don’t blow dry my hair—I actually wash it at night and let it dry as I sleep. After using these products, my hair came out perfectly smooth, thick, full, and very shiny—as if I had used a blow dryer and a leave-in conditioner and shine enhancer.
Another interesting thing I noticed is that the pigment of my hair seemed to be richer. My hair is naturally brown (my mother calls it “chestnut”), and I don’t dye it. Sometimes, when the weather gets dry (like it’s been for the last several months) it begins to lighten and turn a little brassy. Since I have been using these products the color seems to be a bit deeper and warmer with more dimension—kind of how it looked when I was a kid.
I noticed that the labels on Power Build products state that they protect the hair from UV damage and help to reduce color fade, but I assumed that pertained to color from dye—not natural pigment. I decided to ask the company about this. Their response: “The Power Build is great for adding protein and moisture to the inner structure of the hair. There is a component found in hair called Tyrosine that is responsible for regulating the melanin (the natural pigment). Tyrosine is an amino acid that is a building block of protein, and as the hair is almost 91% protein, it's very important that the Tyrosine levels not be depleted (this happens a lot with ammoniated hair color). In short, it is very possible the protein and nourishing ingredients in our Power Build product is working to help the natural Tyrosine levels in your hair.” So that’s an added benefit!
The Power Build products contain many organic ingredients, with Soil Association Organic Standard and ECOCERT certifications. It does still does contain some chemical functional ingredients but there are no parabens, sodium/ammonium lauryl/laureth sulfates, or formaldehyde-releasing agents. They do, however, contain synthetic fragrances, PEGs, and DEA in addition to some other chemical ingredients that might not be right for everyone. There are more natural and organic ingredients than synthetics in the products, and the company values transparency and discloses all ingredients and their sources to anyone with concerns. The products do not contain any animal ingredients and are not tested on animals.
The Simply Organic products contain far less synthetic ingredients, and are rich with organic botanical extracts and oils. They are also vegan and cruelty-free. In terms of the ingredients and formulation I have to say I prefer the Simply Organic products over the Power Build and will be ordering more products from this range in the future.
To learn more about the organic hair products offered by Organic Color Systems visit their website and fill out the form to find an Organic Color Systems salon near you. I know I will, because going to the salon for a trim with a wet head in the winter is no fun!